Southampton boss Ronald Koeman praises Sadio Mane after Liverpool brace
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 20/03/16 8:19pm
Ronald Koeman praised the impact of substitute Sadio Mane after he inspired Southampton to a thrilling 3-2 victory over Liverpool on Sunday.
The Senegal international started on the bench at St Mary's after having his red card against Stoke overturned.
When he was introduced at the break with Saints 2-0 behind he missed the chance to cut the deficit as he saw a penalty saved.
However, he recovered from the setback to score Saints' first goal in the 64th minute and then the winner late in the game shortly after Graziano Pelle equalised.
"It has been a difficult time for him," Koeman told Sky Sports. "He didn't start today or last week but his reaction was fantastic.
"He kept the belief after missing the penalty and he was important in the second half. Him and Victor (Wanyama) had a big impact."
The win keeps Southampton's quest for a European finish on track with seven games of the season left to play.
"You need to keep going," said Koeman. "We have taken six points from two games against Stoke and Liverpool - two must win-games.
"These six points give everybody a big boost but there is still a long way to go. The game after the international break is against Leicester which will be amazing against the leaders and we will try to stop them."
Reflecting on his side's display, Koeman admitted he was concerned at 2-0 down.
"I was a bit worried because you need to take risks and that gives Liverpool more space and they have top quality players to punish you for that," he said.
"We were lucky not to be 3-0 down at half-time. Even though we missed a penalty it was great character and spirit, there were several moments that Liverpool let us off but we had 100 per cent belief we could come back and to win from 2-0 is a big compliment to the players."